Finance Minister boasts of continuous economic growth under coalition Gov’t

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Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Wednesday boasted that the APNU+AFC coalition Government has seen five consecutive years of economic growth.

At a press conference to discuss the Ministry’s mid-year report, the Finance Minister revealed that Guyana’s economy grew by four per cent in the first six months of 2019.

“Between 2015 and 2019, every year this economy grew,” Minister Jordan said.

In 2015, the economy grew by 3.2 per cent, 3.4 per cent in 2016, 2.1 per cent in 2017 and 4.1 per cent in 2018.

The Minister compared this to 2001 to 2005 when the People’s Progressive Party was in office and Bharrat Jagdeo was president.

According to Jordan, the economy grew by 1.9 per cent in 2001, 1.1 per cent in 2002, -0.6 per cent in 2003; 1.6 per cent in 2004 and -5.5 per cent in 2005.

The mid-year report credited the growth in the first half of 2019 to expansions in sectors such as rice, forestry, gold, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade and financial and insurance activities.

The Government as a result of the half-year growth revised its growth projection for 2019 to 4.5 per cent.

In the 2019 annual budget presented in November 2018, the Government had projected that the economy would grow by 4.6 per cent but this was revised downwards in May to 4.4 per cent.

However, the 4.5 per cent projection can again be revised downwards due to the current political climate.

According to the report “a number of downside risks, both locally and internationally, especially political uncertainty going into the impending General and Regional Elections, have been identified that could impact negatively on the attainment of the revised growth rate.”

In his remarks, Minister Jordan alluded to the fact that the Government which was thrown into an interim state on July 12 when the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered its orders on the validated December 21 No-Confidence motion.

“Quite frankly since 2015, we’ve been operating in a challenging environment but it has been made more difficult in December 2018 and that remains –the political uncertainty and that could have an impact on growth,” he noted.

So far, he said the political climate has not affected relations with donor agencies, which invest in the economy, but it has affected preparations for incoming revenue from the petroleum industry.

One of the areas affected is the operationalization of the Natural Resources Fund which calls for political cooperation.

Minister Jordan disclosed that the Private Sector Commission and the Opposition have not named representatives to be on the body to manage the fund. Jordan said only the Banking association has named its representative thus far.

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